|Title||Politics of Iran-West relations within the context of Iranian occidentalism; image of the west in the Iranian press during reformism (1997-2001) and conservatism (2005-2009)|
The present research is about relations between Iran and the West from the communication point of view and the role of the media in creating anti-American and anti-Western sentiments amongst the Iranians. It studies how Occidentalism has evolved in Iran and how, as an ideological representation, it has influenced the press portrayal of the West in the country. It also identifies dominant frames in newspaper reporting of the West and indicates how the perception of reality and meaning construction work in mainstream Iranian newspapers.
The present thesis seeks to investigate, through content analysis of news items and critical discourse analysis of news editorials, the impact of political affiliation of newspapers (as the first independent variable) and the political period in which they are published (as the second independent variable) on the representation of the West (as the dependent variable) in Iran. The results and findings of the present study are yet another contribution to the study of the West, particularly in the Iranian context. In fact, the representation of the West in mainstream Iranian newspapers in the way discussed throughout this thesis signifies the creation of a new type of Occidentalism in the Orient, which I here brand as “Iranoccidentalism”.
Iranoccidentalism is an ideological concept, which is under the influence of the prevailing discourse; It projects the West, through media, as “arrogant/imperial and interventionist”; It is coupled with anti-Americanism and opposition to the West, and is linked to the history of colonialism and imperialism in Iran as well as the Iranian encounter with modernity; Moreover, it is a reaction to Orientalism and seeks to spread the Islamic ideology of governance and awakening within the framework of the Shiite ideology;
Furthermore, Iranoccidentalism pursues a “nativistic” and “nationalistic” approach which manifests itself in the Iranians’ national resolve to develop indigenous technologies such as the nuclear, aerospace and missile technologies as well as biotechnology and nanotechnology. I argue in the course of this thesis that Occidentalism is evolving and turning into a structured discourse in Asia and especially in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, including in Iran where it is under the great influence of the history of relations with the West and in particular the Iranian response to Western-driven modernity.